Mark Boal

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Roger Ebert

Zero Dark Thirty: A hunch that paid off

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by Roger Ebert

Osama bin Laden is dead, which everybody knows, and the principal facts leading up to that are also well-known. The decision to market "Zero Dark Thirty" as a thriller therefore takes a certain amount of courage, even given the fascination with this most zero and dark of deaths. (The title is spy-speak for "half past midnight," the time of bin Laden's death.)

Ebert Club

#144 November 28, 2012

Marie writes: Behold a living jewel; a dragonfly covered in dew as seen through the macro-lens of French photographer David Chambon. And who has shot a stunning series of photos featuring insects covered in tiny water droplets. To view others in addition to these, visit here.

(click images to enlarge)

Festivals & Awards

No pain for "Hurt Locker," Bigelow

HOLLYWOOD — "The Hurt Locker," a film that was made with little cash but limitless willpower, defeated the highest-grossing film in history and won the best picture Oscar here Sunday night. The director of the spine-chilling war drama, Kathryn Bigelow, became the first woman to ever win the best director Oscar. James Cameron, director of "Avatar" — and her former husband — cried all the way to the bank.

Scanners

That's Jeremy Renner in the bomb suit

Ray Pride reports on the filming of Oscar favorite "The Hurt Locker" (just out on DVD) at Movie City Indie:

There are scenes inside the blast suit and simply crossing the frame where the character feels fully fleshed out, I tell [director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal] during an abbreviated interview in Chicago last July. As a past collaborator of Bigelow's, the writer-director Walter Hill liked to insist, character is revealed through action. [Lead actor Jeremy] Renner reveals character with every bit of his body. "I know! And he's in a bomb suit, no less," she laughs. "It was so hot," Boal adds, "it was hard for Jeremy to be in that bomb suit all of the time. The thing weighs like 85 pounds, it's a real bomb suit. Naturally, you're like, well maybe we can get a stunt guy to do some of this walking stuff and save Jeremy so he doesn't die. The sets are really long and he's walking up and down, we thought, shit, what if he gets heatstroke? He'd had heatstroke before. It's what 100 degrees outside? We tried, I probably grabbed every white guy in Jordan to audition for [Bigelow]: actor, non-actor, soldier, worked at the U. N., whatever."

"They studied his gait," she says, "they'd watch his walk. Couldn't do it." "We couldn't get a double," Boal continues. "Just put on the suit, walk down the street, that was the job." "Every single time, it was Jeremy," she says. "I tried it, everybody tried it!" "There's that kind of almost jauntiness to his gait, and cadence, that was unreplicatable. It was also part of that character."

Roger Ebert

Open the hurt locker and learn how rough men come hunting for souls

"The Hurt Locker" represents a return to strong, exciting narrative. Here is a film about a bomb disposal expert that depends on character, dialogue and situation to develop almost unbearable suspense. It contains explosions, but only a few, and it is not about explosions, but about hoping that none will happen. That sense of hope is crucial. When we merely want to see stuff blowed up real good in a movie, that means the movie contains no one we give a damn about.